So what’s different this time….?

Is a question I have been asked recently on more than one occasion! You’ve lost weight before and then gained it plus more, you’ve started a fitness drive before and then given up. What’s different this time? Is it going to be any different this time?

And the answer is….
It is different this time – or atleast it feels different this time!

I can list the times I’ve gone on a fitness mission. I’ve never tried to lose weight without exercising. Diets alone don’t do it for me. I get bored, I can’t bear conversations about calorific contents and which item on the menu has the least points. It all sounds so self righteous- especially when people tell you they’ve “been good today” and they are actually talking about what they’ve put in their mouth (or not!)
So there’s the time I lost loads of weight for a holiday by going to the gym four times a week and going on the cross trainer for a solid hour at a time. That was effective but boring. And as soon as I got to Ibiza I moved on.
I went on a drastic mission for my best friends wedding shortly followed by my sisters wedding, as I didn’t want to be the only bridesmaid in a different dress. I did various forms of cardio at the gym – and bored myself to death but I was determined!
Again, wedding over and routine forgotten.

The next time was for my own wedding. I went all out this time, got a PT, did two sessions a week plus ran three kilometres twice a week and went on a strict paleo diet and lost three stone in three months. I even managed to maintain this for about six months and lose another stone. Then my PT moved to South Africa and I gave up.

By the time my PT had moved back to the UK 18 months later I had regained all of the pre-wedding weight- and more. With no idea how to motivate myself, and no reason to keep going I just gave up completely.
Since then training has been on and off, as we have both struggled to find consistency and a routine that works for both of us.
The thing that I missed most- much more than the number on the weighing scales- was the social aspect of training, and the feeling of achieving and progressing and getting somewhere. I missed how I felt after training, completely exhausted but also exhilarated. When I don’t train I feel more lethargic, my skin feels dry and spotty, I feel like I’m not taking care of myself emotionally or physically. I also feel like all I do is work, sleep and socialise- and I miss the balance and grounding that I get from working out.
So what’s different this time?

  • There’s no end goal, no wedding, no target weight, it’s just one day at time! 
  • There’s no cross trainer for an hour- it’s fun, it’s weights and conditioning, it’s lively and I can see my progress!
  • I’m not reliant on one person- I’m doing team training and supported by lots of people
  • It’s social, and chatty and interesting
  • I’ve got a routine that works for me. I can fit training into a busy working week.  
  • I’m not doing anything radical foodwise. I’m making adjustments rather than overhaul. If I am going out and fancy the chocolate brownie then I’m having it and I’m not going to feel guilty, I’m just back on it the next day. I’m also trying to have fun trying out new healthy recipes and keeping food interesting – steak and peanut butter for breakfast gets boring pretty quick!
  • I’m trying to understand myself more- when things go wrong what happened. How can I avoid getting to the point where I’m so hungry I’ll eat anything! How can I not get overtired and want to spend the whole weekend on the sofa!
  • I’ve got some fitness related goals to focus on and work towards, tough mudder is now in the diary, a fitness retreat in Ibiza and a weekend in Bournemouth. They all give me something to look forward to and keep working towards. 
  • I’m focussed on doing the right things to drive the right results, not the result itself. Eating healthily and moving more will result in a hotter bod!!! It really is that simple.
  • I know that what makes me happy isn’t how much I weigh. I’m not getting depressed if I gain a pound in a week. And being thin isn’t all that life is about. I think that I expected that losing weight would mean that I joined a magic club where I was part of a group of people who were happy because they weren’t overweight. That doesn’t exist and happiness comes from the inside and I can be happy whatever I look like!

And I’m really enjoying the journey! So as long as that continues I know I will stay motivated and get the results I know I am capable of achieving!     

Be More Warrior

Yesterday I took part in a 10k Obstacle Course Race in Hertford. I have to admit that I had always looked at Tough Mudder kind of events before and thought “those people are just crazy”. In the past I never would have considered it. The only event I have ever taken part in before was a 10k women’s race in 2013, so other than that my training has been limited to the gym and occasional 3-4km road runs in the summer.

I was nervous about it because I doubted whether I would be able to run 10k, I thought I wouldn’t be able to do any obstacles that involved using my arms to pull myself up, and I was worried that I would look be rubbish against all of the potentially superfit people!

So why did I sign up in the first place? A few reasons but mainly I wanted to give myself a goal to work towards. 

  • Training which is only based on losing weight can be frustrating when the scales don’t move quickly and to be honest being solely focussed on your weight is pretty unhealthy and unfulfilling even when you do lose weight. I have been smashing team training each week with a new focus and determination – focused on surviving this event!
  • I was doing it as part of a team and I thought that it would be fun to work together.
  • I wanted to find out what I was capable of!

So I signed up!

We decided to set up a team Just Giving page and raise money for Mind Mid Herts who work with local people with mental illness. I was so surprised and grateful by the amount of sponsorship I received and it spurred me on – I knew that there was no getting out of it now! 

The big day arrived and after a decent breakfast we headed over to the event.

Our before photo- looking nice and clean!

We started at 10.15 and the way that the race was set out, you could opt for 5k, 10k or 20k, so most of the obstacles were crammed into the first five kilometres. That meant that it was full on from the start. After a couple of easier obstacles- climbing over hay bales and wooden structures, the first shock was crawling through a river on your hands and knees – with chest under water. From there on in it was mud slides, wading through rivers, using a rope to pull ourselves up a steep muddy bank, and more mud mud mud! Everyone pulled together to support, push and pull the team through obstacles. 

The toughest part for me was all the running in the second half. It was made harder by not knowing how long you had left to go and wondering when it would all be over.

The sense of achievement at the end was amazing- I survived, and I raised £1250 for charity. My legs ache like never before today but I won’t forget the amazing experience. It just goes to show what you can do when you just get on with it! Now….. what’s next?

We made it! And we’re still smiling!